Tuesday, October 5, 2010

The Happs Here in Korea

Okay, so it has been a while where I posted what has been up with us here in Korea.  So, here we go.
It has finally cooled off here and stopped raining so much which is awesome because that means that the humidity has went down significantly and we can stop sweating profusely every time we go outside.  It has finally became fall complete with the changing leaves in the trees.  I have started wearing my sweaters and boots... and today I realized most of my sweaters are lightweight and/or short sleeved from living in Texas for so long and when winter actually comes I may be in need of some more heavy duty ones.  Fine by me that means I will nee to go SHOPPING.  Since being here that has been cut down a lot since I have to do it on the internet since most Korean clothes do not fit me and post is lacking.  But yea for Amazon.com!  Adam is super busy with work which is great since I am super busy with my work.  The school is still in growing pains but slowly kinks are getting worked out.  One of these days it will be a well-oiled machine... hopefully that is before I leave. :D
View from my classroom.  The trees are changing leaves.
On the weekends we have gotten in to a rhythm of driving to post (25-40 min drive depending on traffic) and getting a Whopper for breakfast, hitting up the commissary for American groceries and then after groceries are put away head out for a walk or to explore.  A couple of weeks ago we headed up to Mount Palgong which is about 6km from our house and hiked up to Gatwabi.  Let me just preface this with the fact that I had went online and read about Mount Palgong and it had said that there were two major temples up there and that there were hiking paths from the temples... that is what I read.  I was wearing a t-shirt and jeans and carrying my camera backpack for the hike.

We get to the parking lot and it is PACKED and when Adam pulled in to one this guy got really angry and yelled at us in Korean and proceeded to put up a chain while we were still in the lot... he was not a nice man and I wanted to stick my tongue out at him but I was too busy yelling at Adam.  We then found a parking spot and immediately the walk to the park entrance was straight up.  I was out of breath and sweating immediately and had to take a few breaks to not pass out.  I am out of shape... I won't deny it.
At the park entrance it said that Gatwabi was 2km away.  I am thinking that that is like a mile and I can totally manage that.  HA! It was 2km straight up the mountain... by straight up I mean near vertical.  Not exaggerating.

1.5km of the climb was on a paved road and it was pretty steep.  When we got to a temple we rested and took pictures.  Next to this temple was a set of stone stairs and the sign at the bottom said that it was 0.5km to Gatwabi (Buddha with the stone hat).  I figured I could make it up a set of stairs for 500m.  These stairs were even more steep than the road and I thought I was going to die a few times and Adam must have thought so too because he asked if I wanted to turn around a couple of  times.  I was determined to make it up to the top whether I had to be rolled down the mountain or not.  I wasn't going to let the Koreans show me up even though they are like Mountain Goats.  They all, young and old, trudged up the mountain like it was no big deal.  They were even off-roading on these skinny little dangerous looking paths.  They also carried full meals up the mountain and one woman had a camp stove with her so she could make them Ramen up on the mountain.  I even saw an old man who could barely bend his right leg making the climb up.  Just crazy.  On the way down my legs were so tired that my legs were shaking and I fell twice.  The Koreans laugh at you when you fall, by the way.

We made it to the top and saw Gatwabi.  It was very much worth the climb.  Besides the Buddha there was an almost 360 degree view of the valley including the city of Daegu in the far background.  Apparently, it takes Koreans 40 minutes to make it to the top and we took 2 hours.  But it took us 1.5 hours to get down and we didn't break like we did on the way up so I have a hard time believing the 40 minute thing.  The top of the mountain was packed with people too because they were all praying for their kids who had midterms coming up.  There was over 100 people up there.  I am glad I did it even though I was sore for a week and even thought my calves were getting Rabdo again when they started to swell.  What makes it even better is I know I will never do it again.  When we got to the bottom of the mountain we bought some snacks: Korean Veggie Pancake (yum!), popscicles and Odang (not yum! but Adam likes it) and it was the best food I have ever eaten and super cheap.

Not sure when our next adventure will be... maybe soon.  I want to go back up to Mount Palgong because the other temple is supposed to be pretty cool and have the biggest Buddha in the world (?) that we want to get our picture taken in front of for our ChrismaKwanzaKah cards this year.  I guess there is a gondola to the top too.  I can handle that.

Anyway, this is what has been up that is exciting and not the hum drum work stuff.  Enjoy our pictures.
The Temple at 1.5km before the stairs.

The base of the stairs.  They got steeper and narrower and 500m felt like three times that.

This is about 200m from the top.

At the top... see how happy I am.

See all the people in the background praying.

View of the value from the top.

Gatwabi - Buddha with the stone hat.

Adam enjoying his street food.

Half of a korean pancake and my empty peach water can.

Odang... rendered fish noodle.  Blech!

Best damn cherry popscicle EVER!
Our souvenir from the gift shop at the top.


*~BrittDill~* said...

Love your pictures, and love that you are rocking a Pens shirt! :)LET'S GO PENS!!! How did you become a Pens fan in Texas?

Poekitten said...

I love street food. It's so good! And I hear about the climbing...been there, done that. Not fun but I love knowing I made it to the top! I always loved watching the people go past me...especially the women in high heels. How do they do it!?!?

Megan Dub-Yuh said...

Britt, I just love Hockey and know a good team when I see one. Sidney Crosby is easy on the eyes too and that helps. :)

Erin C said...

So, so jealous! I'm a math teacher/Army wife too. I was finishing up my MS while DH was in Korea, so I didn't get to go. I could've only dreamt about teaching over there! Relish it!